Andrew Endres Collective — Desolation
((Not on label) no#, 2015, CD / LP)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-12-20
On the jazz axis that runs from totally traditional, standard material on one end (let’s call it post-bop for convenience) to more modern sounds (think of the kind of jazz on Cuneiform) on the other, Andrew Endres and his group are near the center, somewhat moving towards the modern end – but not too far. Endres is the guitarist and composer, but from listening to the music, you’d never guess the guitarist is the leader. Stephanie Cooke’s piano figures prominently enough that you might think she’s the boss. Or it could be one of the two saxes: David Valdez (alto) or Lindsey Quint (baritone). The ensemble is rounded out with Sam Hallam (bass) and James Ford (drums). It is to Endres’ credit that he doesn’t hog the arrangements with his own playing, but spreads the leads among the rest of the musicians, allowing them space to shine. Several of the tunes have a kind of Third Stream flavor, largely due to Cooke’s influence. Her piano work often hews to traditional comping and melody lines, but there are a few times where she does something that just jumps out at you with unexpected notes. Often the melodies are done in parallel between the two saxes and either the guitar or the piano, which makes for some lovely combinations. The saxes both avoid any of the further reaches of the instruments (no squawking), but neither do they adhere to simple blues idioms – there’s a good balance of sounds. Endres stays with fairly clean tones on his guitar, with only very subtle use of effects. His playing is pleasantly non-idiomatic, avoiding the stock blues licks and scalar runs that so many jazz guitarists rely on, and he’s also not showoffy with flashy phrases. Desolation is all around a tasty listen, and it’s also available in a beautiful vinyl LP edition – check out the Bandcamp link to see it.
Related artist(s): Andrew Endres Collective
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more